Saturday, May 18, 2024

Young officegoers in China opting for ‘disgusting’ and ‘ugly’ clothes as work outfits. Here’s why

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Get Ready With Me (GRWM) is one of the most popular social media trends worldwide, but in China, a new, but related trend has taken over with people posting their videos labelled “disgusting”, “ugliest”, or “gross” outfits as “Outfit of the Day (OOTD)”. 

In the GRWM video, people generally demonstrate the step-by-step process of getting ready. From make-up to outfit selection and styling, the bloggers show every detail. In China, young workers have taken steps backwards, for reasons open to speculation. 

People have shared OOTD videos on Chinese social media platforms donning weird combinations for office, such as cartoon cotton socks with heels, pyjamas with knee-high boots, and colours and prints usually considered inappropriate formal wear. 

The hashtag “Why do young people always wear ugly clothes to work,” has over 90 million reads on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo. On Douyin, which is a Chinese version of TikTok, videos of people showing ugly work outfits have garnered millions of views. 

Hashtags like #grossoutfitforwork and #uglyclothesshouldbeforwork remain popular with the trend. They also asked the users to choose who wore it worst. 

The trend seems to have begun after a social media post by a chilly restaurant worker in September last year. As per reports, she had claimed that her warmth-prioritising outfit made the boss angry. 

Since then, people have been expressing their dissatisfaction and anger towards their boring, underpaid and long-hour jobs just by wearing “ugliest” clothes to workplaces. Also, a way of telling that they would rather wear whatever they have instead of purchasing new clothes. 

Some of the rebellions are posing reasons for picking such clothes with one woman writing: “My coworker says I dress like a wild man.” She shared an image of herself wearing a neon yellow vest and baggy knee-length shorts. 

Another said, “My boss gave me 50 yuan to wash my clothes and I was forbidden to shake hands with clients ever again” and showed off a dirty yellow and blue jacket. 

Another post read, “Earning such little salary, with ugly coworkers, what else do you expect from my outfit?” 

Hu Wei, who is a young office worker in Shanghai, told local news agency Shangguan News in February, “I have to leave no later than 8:10 in the morning, then take two subway lines for at least 45 minutes to work. Sometimes I even bring breakfast to the office. How can I have time to pick out nice outfits?” 

Though people have given various reasons for picking such outfits, not everyone understands them. Some social media users called out the trend of sloppy work attire as lazy or highlighting young workers’ lack of ambition. “Dressing properly will help improve your financial prospects…if you dress clean and smart for work, your mental state will be the same,” read one comment on Weibo. 

Srishti Singh Sisodia

Srishti Singh Sisodia is a digital journalist at WION and majorly writes on world politics. She is a die-hard FCBarcelona fan. She follows world sports and likes

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